CEMS researchers win APS travel awards

Feb. 4, 2021 - William Nunn (pictured, left), a 6th year chemical engineering PhD candidate advised by CEMS Associate Professor Bharat Jalan, and Dr. Anil Rajapitamahuni (pictured, right), a post-doctoral researcher in the Jalan group, have won travel awards from the American Physical Society (APS) Division of Materials Physics (DMP) to support their participation in the 2021 APS March Meeting.

Nunn was selected for an Ovshinsky Student Travel Award for research on “Novel MBE Approach for Highly Conducting Epitaxial RuO2 Films” describing that a fascinating consequence of electron correlation is the emergence of a wide range of quantum phases including superconductivity in perovskite oxides such as cuprates and ruthenates. In particular, ruthenates are difficult to grow in molecular beam epitaxy (MBE) due to the ultra-low vapor pressures of Ru. Additionally, Ru has high electronegativity which further makes it difficult for achieving complete oxidation, Ru to Ru4+ states under standard MBE conditions. The former issue was addressed by supplying Ru using an e-beam source whereas the latter oxidation issue is addressed by using highly reactive ozone. However, the use of e-beam and ozone has adverse consequences on the stability of Ru beam-flux, which is critical for obtaining electronic-grade materials. In this collaborative research, Nunn and other UMN authors showed a new hybrid MBE approach that circumvents these issues by supplying a metal-organic compound containing Ru for the growth of RuO2.

The Ovshinsky Student Travel Awards were established to assist the careers of student researchers. The awards are named after Stanford and Iris Ovshinsky, who had a very strong interest and commitment to scientific education. The awards have been endowed by the Ovshinsky family, their colleagues at Energy Conversion Devices (ECD) companies and their numerous friends from many social, intellectual and business relationships.

Rajapitamahuni received a Post-Doctoral Travel Award for collaborative research he authored with authors at the University of Minnesota and University of Utah on “Reversible control of electronic transport in ionic-gel gated β-Ga2O3 thin films.” Motivated by applications in power electronics, rapid progress has been made in the doping studies of β – Ga2O3 (BGO), although questions remain on the doping dependence of electron transport and mobility optimization at high doping densities. Rajapitamahuni will present observations on electron transport properties of ionic – gel gated BGO films, grown via metal-organic vapor-phase epitaxy.

The DMP Post-Doctoral Travel Awards were established to recognize innovative materials physics research by post-doctoral researchers, and Rajapitamahuni is among approximately 12 post-doctoral research to be selected for the award in 2021.


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